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Los Angeles Angels Trade Rumors: James Shields, Ben Zobrist Targeted

The Los Angeles Angels aren't just looking to bolster their starting rotation, but it appears that the Angels are looking to add a bit of punch to their lineup. According to ESPN's Jim Bowden, the Angels have started a conversation with the Tampa Bay Rays about acquiring both James Shields and Ben Zobrist.

Though Shields is having a bit of a down year with a 4.39 ERA, his FIP is a much healthier 3.89, and his xFIP is 3.42. Shields' BABIP has also been a bit high, at .337, so he's due to run into better luck on balls in play.

While Shields would bolster Los Angeles' rotation slightly, Ben Zobrist would provide a huge lift to Los Angeles' lineup. Zobrist is versatile, and can play nearly every position on the diamond. Despite suffering from a low BABIP this year (.275), Zobrist is hitting .255/.381/.456. Zobrist's walk rate of 16.5% is higher than his strikeout rate of 14.2%.

Personally, I've always believed that Zobrist is one of the most, if not the most, underrated player in baseball. If the Angels can acquire both Shields and Zobrist for a package consisting mainly of Garrett Richards, John Hellweg and Howie Kendrick, it would be a steal for Los Angeles.

We'll see if anything develops, but it's worth keeping an eye on.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.